NAACP urged to ‘remember, move forward’

Published 5:01 am Sunday, June 3, 2007

By By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
Geneva Boyd Buck sat near the front of the room during Beaufort County’s annual NAACP banquet at the Washington Civic Center on Friday night. But she remembers the days when she couldn’t sit at the front of a bus.
Just behind Buck sat nearly 2-year-old Airiana Johnson, who fed herself in a stop-and-go manner while she worked on a sculpture made of sweet potatoes. Johnson is “still getting the hang of mealtime,” according to her grandmother Bernadine Freeman-Moultrie.
Buck and Johnson didn’t know it, but they were and are the epitome of the Rev. William Barber’s message to the Beaufort County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Barber is the president of the state chapter of the NAACP. He said the NAACP was formed 98 years ago when at least one black man a day was being lynched in the United States.
Barber also spoke about 1898 Wilmington Race Riot, which he said was detrimental to blacks’ aspirations to gain political power.
He spoke about Bayard Rustin, a colleague of the Rev. Martin Luther King and the organizer of the March on Washington in 1963.
“Most people know Rosa Parks,” Barber said. “They don’t know that Bayard Rustin refused to give up a seat on the bus because he said … if he moved he’d be depriving a child of the truth.”
But Barber said there’s still work to do and the future is just as important as the past.
Barber said not enough money is going toward education and that too many children still aren’t performing at grade level.
Barber’s remarks drew a “Hallelujah!” from Buck and a standing ovation from the crowd.
And even with all the enthusiasm surrounding her, the 2-year-old Johnson slept in her grandmother’s arms.